We often get the question, “can you use exterior paint inside?” When looking at exterior and interior paint next to each other, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two. That is because they aren’t that much different. Apart from the differences in their composition, interior, and exterior paint are practically the same.

Ingredients of Paint

Before we can detail the composition differences in exterior and interior paint, it is important to know the many ingredients within the paint. Each type of coating has its purpose, which should be respected among DIYers and contractors. Below, you’ll find a list of primary ingredients in paint and what they do:

Pigments: You’ve most likely heard of pigment; it’s what makes up the color of the paint.

Binders: You could probably guess what binders do by the name, but they hold the pigments together. 

Additives: These give the paint additional properties such as thickness, defoamers, and preventing mold growth.

Solvents: The solvents are the liquid you see in the can. It contains binders, pigments, and other paint ingredients so it can be applied to surfaces.

can you use exterior paint inside

The Difference Between Exterior and Interior Paint

Exterior paints are comprised of softer binders because they are capable of fighting against color fading and the many elements. Mold and mildew are less likely to thrive in exterior paint because of the different chemical compositions. Exterior paint has a lot more to defend against, which is why these types of binders and additives are included.

Interior paints are manufactured with different binders to allow easy cleaning, resistance to washing, and stain resistance. Painted surfaces within your home are most likely getting washed on a regular basis, so the composition must be able to withstand scrubbing.

So, Can You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

Generally speaking, yes. You can use exterior paint inside of your home. However, there are some issues you’ll run into after the job is complete. Some believe exterior paint is better used indoors because it is built to withstand the elements outside. For that reason, it will last longer and perform better indoors. 

Well, that is not the case. As we mentioned earlier, exterior paints are made from softer binders that do not perform well with scratches or scuffs. These binders can withstand rain and wind, but a sponge under your control is a different story. Exterior paint is going to scratch more because it is not built to prevent such issues.

women painting with mask and can you use exterior paint inside

Another issue you’ll have to keep in mind is the amount of VOCs or volatile organic compounds that are let off. VOCs are solvents released into the air as the paint drys. Exterior paint contains more VOCs, which means the fumes are going to be immense. Interior paint already has a fair amount of fumes meaning exterior paint will be a lot worse.

When applying exterior paint indoors, ensure the room is well ventilated. Unfortunately, even after the initial coating, VOCs will continue to come off the paint well after drying. For this reason, we highly recommend you avoid choosing exterior paint for an interior paint project.

Hire a Professional Painter

Determining the right paint for your home can be difficult. Golden City Remodeling is happy to answer, “can you use exterior paint inside,” and the many other questions related to painting. Our team offers professional exterior painting services for residential and commercial clients.

We’ll run you through our entire process, and a project manager will constantly be in touch. Contact us for a free estimate today, and we can get the process started. Hiring a professional exterior painter will provide you with so many more benefits than doing it yourself. Call us today for additional details on our services.